Blackett, Patrick Maynard Stuart

Blackett, Patrick Maynard Stuart
Narrative Source Photograph
IWM Lives of the First World War (PETER5151)

Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Baron Blackett OM CH PRS (18 November 1897 – 13 July 1974) was an English experimental physicist known for his work on cloud chambers, cosmic rays, and paleomagnetism, winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948. In August 1914 on the outbreak of World War I Blackett was assigned to active service as a midshipman. He was transferred to the Cape Verde Islands on HMS Carnarvon and was present at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. He was then transferred to HMS Barham and saw much action at the Battle of Jutland. While on HMS Barham, Blackett was co-inventor of a gunnery device on which the Admiralty took out a patent. In 1916 he applied to join the RNAS but his application was refused. In October that year he became a sub-lieutenant on HMS P17 on Dover patrol, and in July 1917 he was posted to HMS Sturgeon. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1918 but decided to leave the Navy to study physics and mathematics at Cambridge.